Flash Gordon

The opening of Flash Gordon, once finished with the villain’s introductory dialogue, plays the dramatic theme of the titular main character. The opening uses both art and real shots that are implied to be occurring in-world while the title and cast member cards are rolling. The art used is in keeping with the setting and themes of the film, using sharp, modern lines full of movement to suggest an action adventure set in space. It uses a lot of comic book pages and art from the original Flash Gordon comic books. Besides exciting members of the audience who are watching the movie because they are already familiar with and like the books, it also uses these materials in a way that matches the tone and energy of the film.

Many moments are synched in time with the music; a picture will linger with a rhythmic beat of drums, and then the chorus sharply rises as a new picture is transitioned into with a bang. Credit titles transition into focus by shrinking to fit the screen from off-camera and with an attention-grabbing flash of light. I think movement is heavily leaned on, like with one shot where winged characters cut straight from comic book pages are zoomed in on, and they quickly rise into the corner out of sight, as though they are flying away/towards action.

The bulk of the comic pages are partially obscured by being very zoomed in or passed over relatively quickly, so there is a sense of danger, uncertainty, and constant movement. The pages chosen match these less visual elements by showing high-intensity moments, like explosions, or people sacrificing themselves, or sword fighting with villains. The part of the song that talks about Flash’s heroism is matched to pictures of Flash accomplishing acts of daring, with the song swelling to suggest Flash is an inspirational figure. When the song slows down for a bit, the pictures also slow down, letting you look over them longer and transitioning by fading out instead of with hard cuts.

The opening utilizes its (amazing) theme song by matching the movements and transitions to its dramatic rising and falling, conveying to the audience this story is packed with adventure and action-thrills.